Monitoring Same/different Discrimination Behavior in Time and Space: Finding Differences and Anticipatory Discrimination Behavior

By Brooks, Daniel I.; Wasserman, Edward A. | Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, April 2010 | Go to article overview

Monitoring Same/different Discrimination Behavior in Time and Space: Finding Differences and Anticipatory Discrimination Behavior


Brooks, Daniel I., Wasserman, Edward A., Psychonomic Bulletin & Review


Discrimination behavior in a standard, two-alternative forced choice same/different task is usually measured by the pigeon's pecking one or the other of two arbitrary report areas. We found that pigeons make anticipatory, discriminative responses to the visual display during the stimulus observing period prior to the availability of the report areas; the spatial distribution of these anticipatory discriminative responses strongly correlated with the upcoming choice response. These anticipatory pecks provide evidence that the process of discrimination occurs well before the moment of choice and that key aspects of this process can be revealed by looking at the distribution of observing responses. We also manipulated the variability of the displayed items to study the nature of these anticipatory responses; again, the spatial distribution of responding during the stimulus observing period strongly correlated with the upcoming choice response. The distribution of these prechoice pecks supports the theory that pigeons search for differences in the displayed items. If differences are found, then pigeons prepare to report "different"; if not, then they report "same."

The ability to categorize a set of items as "same" or "different" is often deemed to be foundational to human cognition (Katz, Wright, & Bodily, 2007; Wasserman & Young, 2010). These abstract relations have been intensively studied because they are vital to adaptation in a complex and changing world; sensitivity to same and different relations allows us to draw important comparisons among the many objects and environments that we encounter.

Despite the key roles that sameness and differentness play in cognition and adaptive action (Wasserman, Young, & Cook, 2004), the capacity to detect abstract relations was once believed to be a purely human competence, "which the Faculties of Brutes do by no means attain to" (Locke, 1690/1975, pp. 159-160). Nevertheless, research with nonhuman animals has shown that other primates (Katz, Wright, & Bachevalier, 2002; Wasserman, Fagot, & Young, 2001) and even pigeons (Wasserman, Hugart, & Kirkpatrick-Steger, 1995; Wright & Katz, 2006) exhibit sensitivity to abstract relations.

Although same and different are often assumed to be equally important conceptual "twins" (Delius, 1994), recent research has revealed that these two concepts may not be equally salient. Mounting evidence suggests that same and different relations are not equivalently discriminated.

The first piece of evidence concerns asymmetrical rates of learning in same/different tasks in which animals must peck at a particular set of items rather than at an arbitrary report area. For example, Blaisdell and Cook (2005) found that different1 pigeons taught to peck at a pair of different items, but not to peck at a pair of same items, learned faster than same1 pigeons trained to peck at a pair of same items, but not to peck at a pair of different items. Similarly, Castro, Kennedy, and Wasserman (2010) taught a single group of pigeons to peck at a same array or a different array of items depending on a superordinate color cue; the birds learned to peck "different" more quickly than they learned to peck "same." Finally, faster learning of different than of same relations was reported by Wasserman, Frank, and Young (2002), who gave pigeons a go/ no-go task: Different1 pigeons taught "peck at different/ no peck at same" learned faster than did same1 pigeons taught "peck at same/no peck at different." This set of experiments documents that, with some training procedures, same and different trials are not learned at equivalent rates.

The second piece of evidence is the asymmetrical behavioral effect of reducing the number of items. When pigeons are first trained with arrays containing 16 items and they are later tested with displays containing fewer items, discrimination falls (Brooks & Wasserman, 2010; Young, Wasserman, & Garner, 1997). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Monitoring Same/different Discrimination Behavior in Time and Space: Finding Differences and Anticipatory Discrimination Behavior
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.